“Education is the great equalizer of our time. It gives hope to the hopeless and creates chances for those without.”
– Kofi Annan
Education. Honestly, I think it is something I generally took for granted as a kid. While I did have moments of struggle, I always had the resources and encouragement necessary to keep moving forward. Now, having spent time in many communities in Nicaragua in which education is a luxury, as well as having two children at the beginning of their educational journey, I have become much more aware of its value and power. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this week in the United States, it is important we remember the hope an education provides.
Kofi Annan, the Former Secretary General of the United Nations, said, “Education is the great equalizer of our time. It gives hope to the hopeless and creates chances for those without.” This is a beautiful picture of the power of hope to create change. When we think of the word “acquire” we often associate it with buying something, which requires monetary resources. However, acquiring an education, at its most basic level, only requires the God-given ability to learn. This is why it can be the “great equalizer” as Annan states. Yes, it requires funds and resources to educate people, but a person, regardless of there economic status, is capable of becoming educated. Whether starting from poverty or abundance, people can gain the skills necessary to reach their God-given potential.
This is why it is such a great source of hope. Hopelessness tends to foster a sense that life will never change. It can leave a person believing they were created for a life of “less than”. The reality is this is a lie and education can provide a picture of the truth. As a person begins to learn, they start to see themselves differently. Instead of only seeing their current reality, they begin to see what could be possible. This change in perspective can produce incredible, life-changing hope. As Annan said it “creates chances for those without”. This is because it opens doors that allows a person to begin to write a new story for themselves, their family, and maybe even their community. This is the story of my friend, Roger, as I share in my book, Hope Realized.
This is what makes teachers so important. Teaching a child is not just about imparting knowledge, it is about providing someone with a hope-producing tool that allows them to thrive. Do you see teachers this way? The impact each teacher has is exponential in our world. Without their willingness to do the difficult work of educating others, we would all experience a lot more hopelessness. Thank you to every teacher who chooses to be a source of hope to so many–you are making a difference!
This also creates an incredible and easy opportunity for each of us to make a difference. We may not all be able to be teachers, but we all can be a part of teaching others. How, you ask? Really, the possibilities are endless. If you are a parent, it starts with your own kids. It has be an incredible gift to participate in my children’s education and watch their faces light up as they learn. It can also look like volunteering with an organization committed to bringing the gift of education to people who desperately need it. Whether it is tutoring, a job placement program, or volunteering in a school, just to name a few, you can bring hope to someone else through your willingness to be available. It can also be as simple as bringing your resources to the table by donating to an organization that is committed to opening doors for others through an education.
As we recognize teachers this week, remember they are not just providing an education, they are providing life-changing hope and our world is different for it. Happy Teachers Appreciation Week!
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